Regular comprehensive eye exams are extremely important for children. By diagnosing a vision problem early, your eye doctor can begin treatment in time to avoid serious conditions occurring in the future, including vision loss, and help your child develop basic skills necessary for learning at school.
As many as 25 percent of school-aged children and 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers suffer from vision problems. For this reason, it is necessary to begin eye tests at a young age. The American Optometric Association recommends children receive their first exam at 6 months and the following at 3 years of age. Kids should then continue to receive eye tests every two years, if they require no vision correction. If your child uses prescription lenses, your optometrist will advise you about frequency of eye tests.
What Does a Comprehensive Eye Exam Cover?
Eye exams for kids look at the following, explains All About Vision:
- Near vision
- Distance vision
- Eye coordination
- Eye movement
- Ability to focus
- Peripheral awareness
- Hand-eye coordination
Eye tests differ according to the age of children. For babies of around six months, your optometrist will check that eyes are developing properly by testing pupil responsiveness to light, the ability to fixate on and follow a moving object, and preferential looking. Older children who are not yet familiar with the alphabet will have an eye exam using LEA symbols, a retinoscopy (to observe reflections in the back of the eye), and a random dot stereopsis (using patterns made from dots and 3D glasses to gauge coordination).
You should arrive at the appointment prepared with information about your child’s medical history, family history of eye problems, and any signs that suggest poor eye development or vision. Your eye doctor will use this along with the information gained from tests to determine if your child needs corrective eyewear or further treatment.
You should also protect your children’s vision by keeping their eyes safe from damaging UV rays. Make sure your kids always wear sunglasses whenever they head outdoors. You can find shades for children of all ages in the Real Kids’ collection.